Steps for renewal

"Is this all there is?  Is this what church is" 
 Chery Dulaney, member of New Hope's ministry team (

This morning, I began to re-read the book of Acts.  For those unfamiliar with the Book of Acts, it is the chronicles of the development of the early church immediately after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Its an amazing read as we see a movement that literally began with about 120 adherents explode to thousands in several years.

The movement of Jesus followers had an explosiveness or dynamism that endured persecution, crossed cultural barriers, and overcame civic opposition.  All of this without programs, nice church edifices, or a dominating clergy class.

Among pastors, there is this aching and haunting reality in many of our churches: Our churches do not look or feel anything like the dynamic movement of Jesus followers in the book of Acts.  Yes, there are programs, and new buildings, and increased staff, but no revival or new life.  Many of the new members of many of the most rapidly growing congregations are not new adherents to Christianity, but Christians disaffected from their current faith community.

However, I believe that God seeks vitality in each generation.  I believe that God is able to do amazingly, above what we can ask or imagine, according to his purposes in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:20).  I believe that the prologue of the book of Acts gives us 4 insights onto the conditions that promote experiencing a genuine movement of God.

1. Obedience to the will of God.  The disciples were asked to wait in Jerusalem to receive a promise of God's spirit (Acts 1:4).  There must be a willingness to do the will of God in order to be empowered for that will.  In other words, our obedience to the commands and will of Christ demonstrates an openness to correctly use the power of God.

2. A Deep commitment to Prayer:  The scriptures said that the disciples met constantly for prayer.  There was a sense of prayerfulness that was foundation to everything.  Interestingly, prayer is not convincing God to do something, but aligning our will to the will of God.  No major movement of God has ever begun without a significant movement of prayer first.

3. A clear sense of Community Unity: They were said to be all in one place and united.  United does not mean uniform.  It means that they were united to the purposes of Jesus and committed to him.  Revival begins with the people of God rally around the person of Christ.  We are reminded that if we lift of the name of Jesus, that He will draw people  to himself.(John 12;32).

4. A Holy Patience for power: The first disciples did not rush out to do ministry, but patiently waited until they were equipped powerfully.  Once they were filled with God's spirit, they were unstoppable in their mission. 

Are we ready for renewal?  Are we ready to take our discipleship to a new level? Obedience, prayer, unity and power are the tests.  

I pray that you experience the presence, the power, and the productivity that God has called you toward this day.  May God bless you.

Pastor M Traylor